Wainiha Beach Park

Wainiha Beach Park - Unspoiled Natural Kauai Beach
Local Expert's Rating:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

This beach is not for water-based activities, except for fishing. It can work well for a quiet stroll along the beach, shell hunting or a waterfront picnic, but it has no parking, facilities or lifeguards.

- The HawaiianIslands.com Local Expert Team

Wainiha Beach Park is located on the north shore of Kauai, not far from Hanalei. Wainiha Beach Park is at the end of the Wainiha River, marking the place where the river empties into the ocean. This secluded, less-visited beach is perfect for picnics and leisurely strolls along the shore. The fact that fewer people visit it also makes it a prime fishing spot.

This beach looks like the perfect place to spend an afternoon to the untrained eye because it is very natural and often has few visitors. Yet the beach is completely off-limits for swimming. In fact, the name Wainiha means “unfriendly water,” and the beach is aptly named.

This beach is one of the few off of Kauai that does not have an offshore reef. The offshore reef shelters a beach from large ocean swells, and because it doesn’t have one, Wainiha is too dangerous to swim in. Swimming and snorkeling are not allowed because of the rip currents, strong shore break, and powerful backwash on this beach. The mixing of river and ocean water also makes the water murky, which means it attracts sharks. This adds to the danger of the water. Because swimming is not allowed, this beach does not have lifeguards.

Yet, for beachgoers who are not interested in swimming, Wainiha Beach Park is a beautiful destination. It is lined with coconut trees and pineapple, as well as a few stately homes. The lack of water-based activities means it is less crowded than other more popular beaches, making it a great destination for a relaxing waterfront picnic or a walk along the beach. The views are hard to beat, and being alone on the beach is common.

Because water activities are not possible, the time of year to visit Wainiha Beach Park does not impact your enjoyment of the beach. Some flooding is possible near the river during the rainy season from April through October.

If you do want to explore Wainiha Beach Park, parking is a challenge, as the beach itself has no parking. Visitors typically park at one of the villas and vacation rentals nearby, then cross the road to access the beach. You can also try to find street parking or dirt parking lots if available. The beach also lacks restrooms and other facilities.

Insider Tips:
-Respect the warnings about the water here at Wainiha Beach Park, because drownings have occurred due to the unsafe currents along the water.
-The strong currents deliver food sources to larger fish, so fishing is good off the shores of Wainiha Beach Park.
-Hanalei Colony Resort near the beach is a good spot to grab a bite to eat or food for a picnic lunch.